Sci-Fi Video Roundup for October 16

Compiled by Carl Slaughter: (1) The case for Gul Dukat

(2) Honest Trailers:  Next Generation series

(3) Discovery: Spore travel technology explained

(4) Discovery is really about Section 31

(5) Discovery is being heavily pirated  — Ars Technica says the first two episodes of Discovery are both among the 20 most pirated TV shows.

(6) Orville is Star Trek

(7) Majel  Roddenberry

(8) Batman’s greatest failures

(9) Honest Trailer:  Burton’s first Batman movie

(10) How McDonald’s got Tim Burton fired from Batman

(11) Marvel’s seeming plot holes

(12) Dark side of Star Wars

(13) Why we will never see an Ender’s Game sequel

Bradbury Bonus Roundup

Ray Bradbury’s 89th Birthday Cake. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

“All Bradbury, all the time” — one of File 770’s mottos. (The other is: “It’s always news to someone.”)

(1) LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT. Ray’s version of How I Met Your Mother – from the Goodreads blog, “How to Find the Love of Your Life in a Bookstore: The Ray Bradbury Method”.

If you want to fall in love with a reader, go where the readers go. The late Ray Bradbury met his future wife, Marguerite McClure, at Fowler’s Bookstore in Los Angeles when he was 22 years old.

It was not love at first sight. McClure, who was clerking at the store, accused Bradbury of shoplifting. “He carried a briefcase and wore a trench coat on a clear day, so I was immediately suspicious,” she remembered later. “I expected him to slam his briefcase down on a pile of books and make off with a few. Instead, he told me he was a writer and invited me to have a cup of coffee with him.”

(2) PROFESSIONAL OPINION. The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies documents that Ray Bradbury was asked to review the Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back script before it went into production.

(3) WATCH YOUR PHRASEOLOGY. Gabrielle Belot holds forth “On the Dark, Wondrous Optimism of Ray Bradbury” for Lit Hub.

At a glance, Bradbury can seem excessively cheery, his fiction bursting with a simple positive bombast that stretches, at times, into naiveté and clichés about good and evil, gender roles, religion, and science. When I recently reread Something Wicked This Way Comes, I was struck by how, in one breath, Bradbury could go from perspicacious, precise imagery to ham-fisted, trite moralizing. And the great chronicler of Martians himself sometimes emphasized this saccharine self-portrait. “I believe we’ll be immortal, seed the stars and live forever in the flesh of children,” he declared in 1975 with the death-defying assurance of a transhumanist. His “job as a writer,” he continued, was “to show man his basic goodness… I reject the doomsayers!” Yet there is more than a little dusk beneath this sprightly veneer.

The visions of the future in some of his best-known texts, while sanguine, are quietly bloody in another sense. Ambrose Bierce—who appears as a character in The Illustrated Man—described pessimism in his delightfully perverse Devil’s Dictionary as a natural response to “the disheartening prevalence of the optimist with his scarecrow hope and his unsightly smile”; Bradbury was a rosy smiler, like the charming scarecrow in Howl’s Moving Castle, but no mere romantic idealist. Instead, he was a darker optimist, an optimist of the evening. We all have, need to have, a piece of night in us. Bradbury’s pictures of his era and his prophecies for the 21st century were as hopeful as they were quietly horrifying, and, unexpectedly, they helped me find a language for loss.

(4) EVERYONE’S A CRITIC. Space.com celebrated Ray’s birthday in a strange way, by analyzing one of his failures: “On Ray Bradbury’s Birthday, Revisit His Rejected Planetarium Script”.

As a writer, Bradbury is known and respected for his poetic language, honed over a career that spanned seven decades. But in 1981, Bradbury’s flowery prose describing cosmic phenomena failed to impress [National Air and Space Museum] exhibit developers, whose remarks about the script were incorporated into the files that Romanowski uncovered.

“Many of the phrases are crude and devoid of meaning. Some of it flows nicely, then suddenly it changes and becomes awkward,” a reviewer noted.

Other comments proposed that Bradbury’s words did not accurately represent the science of the Big Bang and the formation of stars and planets, Romanowski reported. One reviewer scoffed at Bradbury’s line about “suns that must birth themselves,” saying that his description “reeks with misunderstanding,” while another pointed to the phrase “life cooking itself,” identifying it as “a poor way of describing/summarizing evolution,” according to Romanowski.

(5) MORE 451 CASTING. Deadline reports “‘Fahrenheit 451’: Martin Donovan, Andy McQueen & Grace Lynn Kung Cast In HBO Movie”.

Donovan will play Commissioner Nyari, a leader in the ministry. McQueen plays Gustav, a member of the resistance, and Kung plays Chairman Mao, a member of the resistance. In addition to Jordan, they join previously announced Michael Shannon as Beatty, Sofia Boutella as Clarisse and Lilly Singh as Raven.

(6) FAUX BLURB. A fiction writer’s web of lies started crashing because, amongst other things, he had blurbs from dead people praising his book Stealing Indians. The SF connection: one of them is Ray Bradbury: “Fiction Writer Is Being Accused of Weaving a Breathtaking Web of Questionable Achievements”.

Praise for journalist Rich Smith’s article on The Stranger, “Meet John Smelcer, Native American Literature’s ‘Living Con Job’”: a profile of a fiction writer who starting claiming a strong Alaskan Native identity as early as 1994 and then appears to have run with a twenty-five-year string of inflated credentials and biographical details so elaborate that the resulting tale itself should be up for an award.

Jamoche posted the link in comments with this clarification:

[About] the Bradbury quote- the Jezebel article missed the line above it, so they report it as being for the new book; it’s actually for the writer’s 2013 book:

Praise for Lone Wolves:

“A beautiful and moving story of courage and love.”—Ray Bradbury

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, and Jamoche for these stories.]

Cosplay, Charlottesville, and Trump

Charlottesville: Attention-seeking fans attracted to media hotspots don’t always get the kind of reaction they want. Bleeding Cool News, in “The Supergirl Cosplayer Who Went To Charlottesville – Guess Whose Side She Was On”, reports that celebrity cosplayer Alisa Norris (aka Alisa Kiss) marched with her partner and other white supremacists last weekend. She was not there in costume, but drew attention to her participation by complaining on Facebook about how the media had portrayed them.

Once the negative reaction set in she denied being in the march, however, Bleeding Cool has video showing her walking hand-in-hand with her partner while he shouts anti-Semitic slogans.

Even the webmaster of her “adult entertainment” site is outraged and has taken it down in protest. The website, AlisaKiss.com, now only displays a message denouncing Alisa Kiss for promoting racism.

Phoenix: Cosplayers on the other side of the culture war are being called to protest Donald Trump’s appearance in Phoenix on August 22. The organizer of a counter event, Cosplayers Rally Against Hate, urges fans “to help drown out the hate groups that will make an appearance by showing up to the rally in cosplay.”

Notes:

1) We are not an official organization, but a rag-tag diverse group of creatives and costumers.

2) We plan to be as safe as possible. I encourage folks to plan exit strategies, and we will be following the main protest groups for updates and recommending staging/protesting areas.

3) Keep your messaging positive – dont react to hate. Also, PLEASE do not wear military-themed cosplay. Wear “safe” looking cosplays, and comfortable cosplays in case of the weather. Signs encouraged (some examples on the page).

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

Pullman and the Grenfell Tower Fundraiser

Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, offered to let readers bid for a chance to name one of the characters in his next book to benefit the victims of the recent Grenfell Tower disaster. A teacher is bidding for the name of one of his students, a resident of the tower who did not survive the fire — “Teacher’s bid to name Philip Pullman character after Grenfell Tower pupil gets £16,000 backing”.

Authors and well-wishers raising money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire are augmenting a bid by a teacher to name a character in His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman’s new book after one of his former pupils, who lost her life.

Nur Huda, 16, died in the fire along with her parents Abdul Aziz and Fouzia, and her siblings Yasin, 21, and Mehdi, 8.

The teacher’s £1500 bid has been augmented by others’ donations, both small and large (one for £5000).

Many in the publishing industry are joining the Authors for Grenfell Tower online auction, offering items to help raise money for British Red Cross’s relief fund for Grenfell Tower residents and neighbors.

In addition to Pullman, sff donors include:

[Thanks to Nigel for the story.]

Spoilery Sci-Fi Video Roundup

By Carl Slaughter: (1) Logan. Logan is dying because admantium is poisoning him, right?  Not exactly.

(2) Spider-Man. Spoiler alert:  The identity of Spidey’s love interest in Homecoming has been revealed.

(3) Spiked. Cancelled Batman movies.

(4) GoT. The 10 most powerful items in Game of Thrones.

(5) Cattle call. 38 actors you didn’t know were in Star Trek.

(6) No swiping. Weirdest Star Wars ripoffs.

(7) Ten-hut! 8 best military sci-fi movies.

Exploring the Videosphere

By Carl Slaughter: (1) Solve for the missing X. Deleted scenes explain the background on Logan X-Men characters who are referenced but did not appear or had smaller roles. To avoid X-Men 3 syndrome, the director chose to focus on the 3 main characters.

(2) Let he who is without sin. If anyone can find 113 things wrong with “Logan,” universally considered by far the best X-Men movie ever, it would be the guys at Cinema Sins. A lot of complaints about minor plot holes, but no attacks on the characterization or themes.

(3) Hear hear. Fifteen minutes of Picard’s most inspirational speeches.

(4) And more. 50 great Captain Picard quotes.

(5) Wry-fi. 25 great Commander Riker quotes.

(6) Klingon epigrams. 25 great Worf quotes.

(7) Wrath of Khan: original interviews. 1982 Interviews with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and Ricardo Montalban. See Nimoy in pink shirt, pink tie, and striped jacket.

(8) Overpowered. 10 worthless and underused characters in Game of Thrones.

(9) Land shark. 10 deadliest characters on Game of Thrones.

(10) Cut short. Speculative movie franchises that were cancelled before the series was completed.

(11) WW. This Youtube Nerdist “Save the World” music video Wonder Woman mashup tribute defies description.

(12) Sith sense. Darth Vader waxes punny and punny and punny.

(13) Captain Z-RO. The Great Pyramids Episode. 1950’s Time Travel

Every week Captain Z-Ro and his assistant Jet would observe world events and travel through time to help historical figures.

The SinCast Brackets

By Dann Todd: Chris Atkinson, Jeremy Scott, and Barrett Share are the brilliant movie mavens behind the SinCast.  Unlike their Cinema Sins YouTube program, the SinCast is a serious discussion about the relative merits of various movies.

Chris, Jeremy, and Barrett all have spent some time working in movie theaters.  A couple of them had rather extensive careers encompassing every position within your average movie house; including tickets, concessions, projectionist, and house manager.

The guys recently completed a series of podcasts discussing the best films of each year that they have been alive.  Their next step was to develop a March Madness-style bracket to arrive at the single best film from the years that they have been alive.  In the tradition of the American NCAA Division I basketball tournaments, SinCast Madness has 68 movies competing for the top slot.

The 47 “winners” from each year they were alive made the cut.  The rest of the field was selected from other noteworthy films from the same era.  The four #1 seeds include 2.5 science fiction/fantasy movies.  (Back to the Future, Children of Men, and Jaws (which is like Alien, but without the outerspacey stuff))  They have been quite kind towards SF/F movies in the past; periodically preferring genre works to Academy award winning stuff.

The competition begins with Episode #59. and eight movies vying for the four #16 seed slots.  The show notes include a link to an image of their bracket.  There is a cleaner version here.  They are already through the first round of competition.  So catch up!

The SinCast is available via SoundCloud and iTunes.

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SFF.net to Close

SFF.net, a longtime internet community that was historically important to the genre, will close on March 31.

Jeffry Dwight and Steve Ratzlaff informed their users:

We are sad to announce that, after 20 years, SFF Net is going offline. Although the reasons are prosaic (increasing costs, diminishing revenue), our deep regret is that we will be unable to continue serving our loyal friends. SFF Net has, at the core, been about online friendships, shared interests, and shared lives.

We deeply appreciate each of you who’ve joined us (and stuck with us) over the years.

Dozens of authors’ webpages will go away, and the SFF.net newsgroups/WebNews will be discontinued.

One reason writers gravitated to SFF.net is that it once hosted SFWA’s private forums, however, that connection was severed in 2014 when SFWA moved the content to its own domain.

Dwight and Ratzlaff have created an SFF Net Facebook page “where you may still interact with others from our community.”

SFF.net traditionally posted a rose at the top of the page to commemorate someone of interest to the community who has recently died — moonwalker Gene Cernan when I looked today. Soon there will be one last rose, for SFF.net itself.

goodrose

[Thanks to Cat Rambo for the story.]